12.13 P.M. A wintry gust of wind and rain blows me into the travel agents.
12.14 P.M. I wearily plonk myself and all my bags of shopping down on the desk.
After sighing loudly I wipe away the hair from my eyes and listen to droplets of rain from my coat drip onto the desk.
A travel agent girl, with a golden tan and a colourful scarf looks me up and down. Her pretty blue eyes scan my damp hair, which is plastered to my face, my smudged eye mascara and sodden coat. She gives me a thin smile.
12.16 P.M. I break the silence and ask the girl whether she has ever watched the film ‘Shirley Valentine’.
12.17 P.M. The girl in the travel agents stares at me. There is now an awkward silence between us. I come to the conclusion quite quickly that she hasn’t watched the film and may have never even heard of it. She looks younger than me.
12.18 P.M. Launch into long and drawn out description about the 80s film ‘Shirley Valentine’; where the bored middle aged housewife ‘Shirley’ runs off to Greece in a moment of madness and goes on a wonderful holiday of self discovery.
12.19 P.M. I watch the travel agent girl stifle a yawn and shake her head at me.
I find myself wondering whether she was born after the film came out.
Her eyes glaze over as I give her some insight into what is going on in my life right now. This, I feel, will be useful for her when helping me choose a holiday.
- My dishwasher is on the blink.
- The brown stain on the kitchen ceiling turned into a leak overnight.
- The cat has an unexplained limp.
- The kids won’t stop squabbling.
- My iron died last night, whilst I was ironing one of my work shirts. I have no more ironed clothes and my ironing pile is now bigger than Everest.
- There is an ant outbreak in the utility room and no matter how much ant powder my husband puts down they still manage to survive. My husband and I are now suffering from ant paranoia.
- My husband has confessed to falling in love with his new car, a black Jeep. He says he wants to spend more time alone with it.
12. 24 P.M. The girl in the travel agents with the golden tan and scarf nods at me. She thrusts a load of brochures at me.
She says that they have some great family package holiday deals on at the moment.
I let out a silent scream in my head as she says “family package holiday”.
12.25 P.M. I remind her again about the film premise of ‘Shirley Valentine’. Woman struggles with family life and has a moment of madness, running off somewhere exotic to find herself for a fortnight.
I ask her to take a good look at me and let me know whether she thinks I need to escape my life, for ten days, maybe a fortnight at a push. She stares at me without blinking.
Her hand reaches for the family holiday brochures.
I sigh loudly and remind her that I need to get away from my arguing kids, the army of marauding ants, have a break from competing with a black four by four jeep for my husband’s attention, the limping cat (who the vet thinks is a veterinary mystery), the huge pile of ironing, the dirty dishes and the drip drip of the kitchen ceiling.
She looks at her watch.
12.27 P.M. Feeling desperate I grab her hand and say that I need some ‘me time’, to get some sun on my chalk white skin, and do a little bit of self discovery, preferably with some handsome male bar owner (like Shirley).
12.28 P.M. The travel girl sighs, removes my hand and starts to type something into her computer.
12.29 P.M. She looks up from her screen and asks me whether I fancy trying out a new destination?
“YES!” I cry loudly, making everyone in the travel agents look round at me.
She has found somewhere new, apparently very quiet, with ‘a laid back ambience, an untouched landscape and guaranteed sun’.
In a fit of uncontrollable joy I race around her desk and hold open my arms for a warm embrace.
She refrains from entering my embrace.
I trudge back to my seat.
In my head I digest what she has just told me. This place sounds ideal. She tells me that there will be a lot of travelling involved to get to this ‘special new destination’.
1.09 P.M. I pay for my holiday out of my ‘Escape Fund’. This money has gone below the ‘housekeeping funds radar’ for months.
I tell the girl in the Travel Agents to watch ‘Shirley Valentine’ on DVD.
To my disappointment she looks away muttering something about it being a film for oldies.
Some time later..
So here I am! The travel agent girl was right, the planet Mars is a special destination.
If you look closely you can see my space craft. Considering how bad I am at parking on Earth I am amazed I managed to land that thing in one piece.
It took an absolute age to get here. I was really frustrated as the space craft did not have Wi-Fi so I spent a LONG time being in a foul mood. As my husband will verify, being in a mood for weeks is nothing new for me.
I have brought my deck chair plus bucket and spade. There is no yellow sand, it’s all red sand here. Golden sand is so overrated! Luckily I bought my reliable brand of suntan cream as this place is HOT.
My colleagues at work won’t recognise me when I return as my tan will be amazing. Have only sat out for a couple of hours and I am already an odd red colour.
A couple of issues with the Mars location. I can’t go on holiday without finding a few faults. I will be giving my feedback to the travel agent girl on my return:
- I can’t get Wi-Fi here which is really annoying, so I cannot update my social networking sites.
- There is no water feature like a pool or sea so I cannot make use of my new bikini, which I bought specially.
- I could do with a gin & tonic but there are no bars.
- This will be a trip of self discovery if I can’t update Facebook and have a little tipple on an evening!
Anyway having a great time on my ‘Shirley Valentine’ holiday.
The reception on the space craft’s radio is not great. Sadly I am struggling to hear my husband due to the bad signal. I did catch a couple of his ‘strong’ words in describing my impromptu holiday. Sigh! I do hope the kids were not in ear shot.
There is a handsome American astronaut bobbing about over there in his suit.
I think my holiday of self discovery is about to start.
I am the modern ‘Shirley Valentine’ – Hurrah!
These Blog Battles / short story contests are run by Rachael Ritchey so head over to her blog if you want to join in.
The word this week is Mars.
The genre: Comedy
I struggled this week. Had a writing related breakdown over the weekend and my blonde brain packed up. So I have had to recycle something I wrote at the start of the year for something else. Apologies to the Blog Battle judges…you are all amazing and dear to my heart!
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/21314915@N03/8361800765″>Holiday on Mars</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>